Q. Why do some people say that Rosh ha Shannah is the head of the year, and some say that the head of the year is really in the spring, based on Exo 12.2?
A. The term “Rosh ha Shannah” means “head (rosh) of the year (shannah)” but it is not the biblical term for the festival in the seventh month, but it is acceptable to use it. The name of the festival on Tishri 1 is called “Yom Teruah” which means “day of the awakening blast.” It refers to the “teruah” shofar blast. It can be found in Num 29.1. You will see it in Hebrew and it is translated as a “day of blowing of trumpets.” The confusion you are referring to comes from a basic misunderstanding of the Scriptures, which I will try to explain briefly. In Genesis 1 the Lord creates the heavens and the earth. The first day of creation is seen by many to be Tishri 1, and day 2 is Tishri 2 and so on. Others see Tishri 1 beginning on Day 4 when he created the sun, moon and stars. No matter what day you look at, time began during that week of creation.
This concept of the beginning of time is called the Civil Calendar and the civil year. This is how we figure the years from creation. So, each Tishri 1 is called a “rosh ha shannah” or the beginning of a new year. Actually, there are four rosh ha shannah’s during the year (Mishnah, Rosh ha Shannah 1.1), but that is another story. In Exo 12.2, the Lord says that “this new moon shall be the beginning of months for you” and he is referring to a religious calendar he is instituting. The religious year begins in Aviv (Nisan) with the new moon for that month. Every date given in the Bible before Exo 12 is according to the civil calendar, beginning Tishri 1. Every date given after Exo 12 is according to the religious calendar, starting Nisan 1. So, there are two calendars in operation in the Scriptures, operating at the same time. In Exo 23.14-17 we see that the Lord commanded Israel to appear before him in what is called the “Shelosh Regalim” or the three pilgrim festivals. In v 16 he says that the “Feast of Ingathering (Sukkot)” will happen “at the turn of the year” and he is talking about the turning of the year in the fall, in the civil calendar. So, the religious year (that’s how you know when to have a feast) coincides with the civil year in the fall because that’s when Sukkot was. He says the same thing in Exo 34.22 and Deut 14.28, so there is no mistake about it. We will see the two calendars in action again in Joel 2.23, where the Lord says he will send the early and latter rain “in the first month.” Now, you can’t have the rains in the spring and the rains in the fall of the year “in the first month” unless it is referring to the “first month” of the two calendars in operation at the time, the civil and the religious. These two calendars will be directly related to the coming of the Messiah. When you look up the Hebrew terms for early and latter rain, you will see that the term “Moray Tzedekah” is used, and it means “teacher of righteousness”, a messianic title (John 11.28). So, Joel is saying that the teacher of righteousness (the Messiah) will come upon Israel in the spring (Nisan) and the fall (Tishri), the first month of the religious and civil year. Yeshua came the first time and fulfilled the spring festivals, starting in Nisan of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Shavuot (the conclusion or “atzeret” of the spring festivals). He will come the second time during the first month of the civil calendar to fulfill Yom Teruah (Rosh ha Shannah), Yom Kippur and Sukkot, at the “turning of the year.” So, to understand eschatology and prophecy, one must be familiar with the concept of the two calendars. The confusion comes in when people don’t understand this concept and take Exo 12.2 to mean that this is referring to the civil year, when in actuality it is referring to the beginning of the religious year and the festivals. Both the civil and religious calendars will be in operation along side of each other in the Scriptures.
Q. In Luke 24.39 Yeshua appears to the Apostles after his resurrection and said he was “flesh and bone.” Does this mean that after the resurrection and we have glorified bodies that we will not have blood?
A. In 1 Cor 15.50 it says that flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The term “flesh and blood” is an idiom for “the carnal, mortal state and subject to death.” The Bible does not state whether all the capabilities of the glorified body we will have and how it will function. The Bible also does not say whether this new body has blood or not. Some teach that glorified bodies will not have blood based on this verse in Luke. What he is saying is that he is not a “spirit” or a vision, and that he is really standing before them with flesh and bone which they can actually see and touch.
His choice of words is alluding to Gen 2.23 where Adam fell asleep (a picture of the death of Yeshua) and out of his side (chamber) his bride is created. He see’s her for the first time after he was awakened (resurrected) and says she is “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” In other word’s, Yeshua dies (falls asleep) and then is resurrected (wakes up). He then appears to his bride (the believers) and says the same thing Adam did. Paul says that Adam and Chava is a picture (shadow, blueprint) of the Messiah and his bride (Eph 5.22-33). Just because Yeshua did not mention blood does not mean that he didn’t have any. He is alluding to Gen 2.23. Remember, Lev 17.11 says that life is in the blood. It is the “carrier” or “operator” of the body, especially to the brain. At times, the physical is not subject to the law of physics. Phillip was physically transported from one place to another in an instant. Peter walked on water, and so on. If the Lord can do that with a physical body, he can make a glorified body function any way he wants. The Scriptures clearly teach that we are returning back to the original Gan Eden. We will have full, capable bodies that God designed in the first place. The difference will be that the new life, energized by the Ruach ha Kodesh, will course through our veins, the very life of God. Yeshua appears in a locked room but that doesn’t mean he won’t use doors. There will be doors in the Messianic Temple in Ezekiel that he will use (Ezek 46.1-8). The original body was “very good” before the fall and it certainly had blood. Activities in the Messianic Kingdom will be normal. There will be eating, drinking, building and farming to name a few. There is no reason to think that glorified bodies will not have blood and you certainly cannot find anything in the Scriptures that states we won’t.
Q. What is Rom 14.1-6 talking about?
A. This chapter is dealing with several groups of people in the synagogues in Rome during the first century. Non-Jews who believed in Yeshua went to the local synagogues to learn how to walk and learn the Scriptures (Acts 15.21). There were also Jews who believed in Yeshua in these synagogues who went back to Rome after Acts 2.10. There is also a third group in these synagogues, the unbelieving Jews. These three groups co-existed in the synagogues in Rome (there was not just one synagogue and Paul is writing to all of these as a group) and this would bring some contention. Paul is dealing with some of these contentions in the book of Romans and Rom 14 is dealing with some of these issues. In Rom 14 he uses the term “weak” to describe the synagogue Jews who did not believe that Yeshua was the Messiah (Rom 4.19-20, 10.2, 15.1). The believing Jews and non-Jews in those synagogues were not to pass judgment on their opinions. So, he is talking about their oral traditions not the written Scriptures, which were not the opinions of men but the commands of God. In v 2 he discusses the fact that some of the Jews would not eat meat or drink wine sold by non-Jews. This is still the practice among some Jewish groups today. That was part of their “halacha” which means “how to walk” in their faith before God. Every religious group has “halacha” even if they don’t call it that.
So, they would eat vegetables because vegetables could not be rendered or considered ritually unclean (Dan 1.8-16). This practice offended the believing non-Jews and Paul was telling them not to be offended. He is telling those who are “strong” (those that have faith in Yeshua as Messiah-Rom 4.19-20, 15.1) not to look with contempt on those who do not eat meat because God accepts the actions of the weak and the strong. They were serving the Lord the best way they knew how, and it is their opinion that their actions were correct, so Paul tells them to leave them alone. The Lord will make their actions stand or fall, in other words, he will reveal to them eventually what the truth of it all is. In v 5 he talks about certain days they regarded over other days. This has nothing to do with the Sabbath or festival days, everyone in the synagogues agreed about those days because they were not the opinions of men, but were commanded by God. The days Paul is referring to were certain days that were regarded by the synagogue Jews as important, like certain fast days (Luke 18. 11-12). Others there didn’t regard these days as important. What Paul is saying is that when it comes to certain traditions, let each man do what he considers right, and not to judge others about it. After all, each person does it to the Lord, so let the Lord deal with it. A modern example of this would be candle-lighting at the beginning of a Sabbath. There is no commandment to light candles, and some do it and others do not. Those that do should not judge or force others to do it, and those that don’t should not force others to stop doing it. When a tradition does not violate the Torah, it is permissible to do it, but it should not be imposed on others one way or the other. There are many traditions like that, and many groups have variations on how to do them today. On the other hand, if a man-made tradition violates or goes against a written Torah command or the Scriptures, than that is a different story, and that is not what Paul is referring to. Modern examples of this is Sunday “Sabbath” over the seventh day Sabbath of the Scriptures. The Scriptures are very clear about what day the Lord considers is the Sabbath.
When the Scriptures say something is not permitted, we are to follow what the Lord says. Romans is dealing with how to get along in a congregation where unbelieving Jews (those who do not believe that Yeshua is the Messiah), believing Jews and believing non-Jews co-existed, and that we are not to pass judgment on another’s opinion on how to walk before the Lord, as long as the opinion was not in direct conflict with the Scriptures.